The start of a new year is a perfect time to hit the “reset button” after at least a month or two where it’s common to indulge in all the foods that would never make a “healthy list”- cookies, cakes, chocolate and candy to name just a few.
After the holidays are over, it becomes all too easy to slide into a habit of an extra glass of wine at night, a sweet treat during the day and then maybe again after dinner. So before these undesirable habits become too set in stone, now is the time to make a commitment to pivoting those habits into ones that are good for you instead!
When you’re trying to change a negative habit into a positive one, the first step is to start paying attention. It’s all too easy to make “choices” you aren’t even aware you’re making. Knowing and understanding exactly what you’re eating and when is an important place to start.
Here are a few tips on how to begin:
- Keep a food journal for a week or two. This is not a tool for judgement but to use as information for what’s really happening vs. what you think is happening. Mindless eating and not being aware of the “imbalance” of food choices is extremely common. The only rule is if you are going to eat it, you must write it down. Often this simple act of writing things down starts shifting habits to the positive.
- Know your food. Increase your awareness of your food choices by starting to read labels on a regular basis. It can be shocking how much sugar is added to food that you might have assumed was a healthy choice. When you’re looking at the sugar content a helpful reality check is knowing that one teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. So when you’re looking at that “healthy” juice or kombucha that contains 20 grams of sugar, you now know to re-think that choice. Besides grams of sugar, be aware of other added ingredients like hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives with names you can’t pronounce- none of which are good for you!
- Understand basic food metabolism/breakdown. Pretty much any food that has already been processed converts to sugar as soon as it lands in your stomach. This is because those foods have already been broken down and are generally lacking in the nutrients and fiber that would normally slow the sugar uptake into the blood stream. I call these foods “hidden sugars” because they’re items you wouldn’t think of as sugar when consuming them. Some classics under this category are breads, crackers, pastas, chips. These are options where “less is more” should always be the rule!
Now that you’re more aware, start with making basic improvements and build from there. There’s never a better time to start than now when it comes to making choices that are going to improve your health and help you feel great. As always, I’m here to help!